Archived - Evaluation of the International Trade and Finance Branch

Archived information

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Final Report
Prepared by
Internal Audit and Evaluation
Department of Finance Canada

Approved by the Deputy Minister of Finance on the recommendation of
Audit and Evaluation Committee on December 11, 2012

Table of Contents 

List of Acronyms

Executive Summary

1. Background

2. Evaluation Objectives and Scope

3. Methodology

4.0 Evaluation Findings

5.0 Conclusions

Appendix A: Management Response

Appendix B: Evaluation Logic Model

Appendix C: ITFB Organizational Chart


List of Acronyms 

ADM
Assistant Deputy Minister
APEC
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
CBSA
Canada Border Services Agency
CIDA
Canadian International Development Agency
CITT
Canadian International Trade Tribunal
CWB
Canadian Wheat Board
DFAIT
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
EBRD
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
EDC
Export Development Canada
FTE
Full-time equivalent
FWG
(G20) Framework Working Group
G7
Group of Seven (countries)
G8
Group of Seven countries and Russia
G20
Group of 20 (19 countries and European Union)
IAE
International Assistance Envelope
IAP
International Assignments Program
IDA
International Development Association
IFI
International Financial Institution
IMF
International Monetary Fund
ITFB
International Trade and Finance Branch
MAP
Mutual Assessment Process
NGO
Non-Governmental Organization
ODA
Official Development Assistance
OECD
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
PCO
Privy Council Office
WTO
World Trade Organization

 

Executive Summary 

This report presents the results of the evaluation of the International Trade and Finance Branch (ITFB) of the Department of Finance Canada conducted between January and October 2012. The evaluation covered approximately $7 million in annual direct program spending and focused on the relevance and performance of Branch operations.

ITFB supports a strong and stable global economy through its work with international finance, trade and development institutions. The Branch manages the Department’s participation in international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and international economic coordination groups such as the G7 and the G20. It also provides policy analysis and advice on a broad range of international issues with respect to Canada’s foreign, development, trade and border policies. On behalf of the Department, ITFB administers Canada’s international financial commitments associated with international debt relief and financial support to international organizations.

The evaluation relied on three lines of evidence: (1) document review and analysis; (2) key informant interviews; and (3) three case studies of selected Branch activities. The following are the key findings and conclusions of the evaluation.

Relevance

ITFB activities were found overall to be aligned with the roles, responsibilities and priorities of the federal government and with the needs, mandate and priorities of the Department of Finance. In areas where ITFB shares broader policy responsibilities with other federal departments, the Branch was found to play a clear, distinct and value-added role based on specific legislative and statutory responsibilities of the Minister of Finance and departmental areas of expertise.

In recent years, ITFB has acquired responsibility for program administration of some international development financing initiatives that are less clearly aligned with the core policy mandate and responsibilities of the Department. This is an area where the Branch could better focus and limit its activities going forward.

Performance

The evaluation found ITFB to be a strong organization, with an effective structure, resources and internal processes to support its key activities. It is a relatively lean and flat organization, with a strong management team and highly motivated and skilled staff. Improving knowledge management within the Branch has been identified as an opportunity to further enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations.

The quality of ITFB’s policy analysis and advice was found to be high. Noted strengths include analysis and advice that is clear, relevant, well-founded and pragmatic. The Branch has strong and effective working relationships with key partners and stakeholders inside and outside the federal government. It was noted that there is an opportunity for ITFB to institutionalize some successful collaborative processes that have been implemented in recent years and to further leverage these networks through more proactive engagement with key partners.

ITFB has faced significant and increasing demands for current information, analysis and advice on international economic policy issues in recent years. This has constrained its ability to undertake more anticipatory work on these policy issues and international processes, and poses a risk to sustaining manageable workloads across the Branch. Increased attention to balancing the response to current demands in relation to more forward-looking work and strategic thinking on priority policy issues could help ITFB improve its ability to achieve international influence.

ITFB has demonstrated significant economy and efficiency in its operations, including flexibility to adapt to changing external demands. Total Branch expenditure has remained virtually flat since 2007–08 despite a significant rise in its activities and responsibilities.

Overall, the evaluation concluded that ITFB is a strong, high-performing Branch. Key challenges for the Branch going forward centre on sustaining its current strengths and continuing to improve its ability to contribute to Canada’s effective international influence. The following recommendations are provided in the spirit of continuous improvement:

Recommendation 1: ITFB should continue dialogue and collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) on financing of international development programs through international financial institutions (IFIs), with a view to limit taking on international development program administration responsibilities, to the extent possible.

Recommendation 2: ITFB should explore and implement actions to improve knowledge management systems and practices within the Branch.

Recommendation 3: To sustain and further leverage effective engagement with key partners, ITFB should consider and implement steps to:

a. Institutionalize recent effective intra- and inter-departmental collaborative processes; and

b. Enhance interaction with International Assignments Program (IAP) participants, in conjunction with other branches.

Recommendation 4: To achieve an appropriate balance among (1) meeting a high level of current demands for information and analysis on international economic issues; (2) investing in strategic thinking and anticipatory work on priority issues; and (3) maintaining manageable workloads across the Branch, ITFB should:

a. Review resource allocation and use across tasks within the Branch; and

b. Increase attention to proactive policy analysis and advice on international economic policy issues, including forward planning and anticipatory work on priority policy issues.

1. Background 

1.1 Introduction 

This report presents the results of the Evaluation of the International Trade and Finance Branch (ITFB) of the Department of Finance Canada. The evaluation was undertaken by Internal Audit and Evaluation between January and October 2012. It covers approximately $7 million in annual direct program spending by the Department. The authority to conduct the evaluation is based on approval of the 2012–17 Departmental Evaluation Plan by the Deputy Minister of Finance on March 2, 2012.

1.2 Profile of ITFB 

Activities and objectives

ITFB supports a strong and stable global economy through its work with international finance, trade and development institutions. ITFB is responsible for two sub-activities in the Department of Finance Program Activity Architecture: 1) International Trade and Finance, which relates primarily to the Branch’s policy functions; and 2) Commitments to International Financial Organizations, which relates to the management of payments to international organizations and Canadian creditors. ITFB also plans and manages the Department’s International Assignments Program (IAP), which places Department of Finance employees as Finance Counsellors in key international economic and financial centres and international financial institutions (IFIs).

ITFB manages the Department’s input to G7/G20 economic issues, for which the Minister of Finance holds responsibility, and advises the Minister on a broad range of international issues with respect to Canada’s foreign, development, trade and border policies. It also manages the Department’s participation in IFIs and in international economic coordination groups. On behalf of the Department, ITFB also administers Canada’s international financial commitments associated with debt relief and for financial support to international organizations.

In carrying out its key activities, ITFB consults and works with a wide range of partners and stakeholders inside and outside the federal government. These include other branches of the Department of Finance, other government departments and central agencies, international organizations, and industry associations.

Collectively, ITFB’s activities are geared toward two strategic objectives:

  • Promoting sustainable international economic growth and financial stability, including support for global poverty reduction; and
  • Enhancing the global competitiveness of domestic industries and expanding commercial opportunities for them.

Appendix B depicts a logic model for the evaluation of ITFB and provides further details on key Branch activities and outputs, partners and stakeholders, and expected outcomes.

Organizational Structure and Resources

ITFB comprises three divisions, each consisting of three sections organized based on functions and activities. Appendix C depicts the Branch’s organizational structure.

The International Finance and Development Division is responsible for activities relating to export finance, debt relief, and participation in multilateral development banks, in particular the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, where the Minister of Finance holds Canada’s governorship. The Division also advises on the overall management and priority setting of Canada’s International Assistance Envelope.

The International Policy and Analysis Division fosters international economic coordination by managing Canada’s participation in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the G7/G20 processes. The Division also undertakes macroeconomic surveillance and economic research, including country analysis, analysis of global economic trends and developments, and monitors global economic and financial stability. 

The International Trade Policy Division provides analysis and advice on Canada’s foreign, trade and border policies. The Division has trade legislative responsibility for laws governing Canada’s tariff and trade remedy system. It participates in various bilateral, regional and multilateral negotiations involving issues relating to tariffs, subsidies and trade remedy measures. The Division also performs the Finance challenge function for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), Passport Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT).

According to year-end financial data, in 2011–12 ITFB had 70 full-time equivalents (FTEs) and actual operating costs (including personnel and goods and services) of $7.23 million.

2. Evaluation Objectives and Scope 

The objective of the evaluation was to assess the relevance and performance (efficiency, effectiveness and economy) of the key activities and operations of ITFB.

The overall scope of the evaluation was broad and touched on the work of all three divisions of the Branch. However, the evaluation focused primarily on ITFB’s policy-related functions under the international trade and finance program sub-activity. This included activities in support of Canada’s participation in international institutions and forums, legislative responsibilities, and the Department’s central agency challenge function role.

The evaluation covered the last five years of operations, 2007–08 to 2011–12, with a focus on the more recent operations, namely the last two to three years to better take into consideration the current context and forward-looking requirements of the Branch.

3. Methodology 

3.1   Evaluation Approach 

The approach to the present evaluation was calibrated to the level of evaluation risk for the Branch, including availability of existing performance information. It was informed by lessons from previous policy function evaluations undertaken by Internal Audit and Evaluation.

The overall evaluation risk for the ITFB evaluation was assessed as “high,” largely due to the absence of previous Branch-wide audits or evaluations, and potentially high public sensitivity due to the nature of the Branch’s international activities. However, the major transfer payments managed by ITFB (international debt relief and payments to the International Development Association) have recently been evaluated by Internal Audit and Evaluation. Consequently, this evaluation relied to a large extent on these existing studies and a document review to assess ITFB activities related to the Commitments to International Organizations program sub-activity. Furthermore, an audit by the Office of the Auditor General on official development assistance through international/multilateral organizationsthatis currently ongoing is expected to examine whether the government has assurance that official development assistance (ODA) spending through these organizations is effective and consistent with Canada’s priorities.

Consequently, primary data collection efforts were targeted to assessing the Branch’s policy-related functions. As one of the first Branch-level evaluations of a policy function in the Department of Finance, the approach to the present evaluation built on lessons learned from two division-level pilot studies of departmental policy functions.[1]

A logic model illustrating a results chain for the Branch was developed for the evaluation (see Appendix B). Typical program evaluations attempt to attribute a program’s activities to the achievement of expected outcomes. However, in this evaluation, making a direct causal link between ITFB’s policy activity outputs (e.g., briefings and presentations, memos, analytic notes, consultations and negotiations) and policy function outcomes, such as real changes in policy and related economic outcomes, poses several challenges. Analysis and advice provided by policy functions may inform or influence policy decisions, but these decisions ultimately rest with elected officials. Even policy research, analysis and advice of the highest quality may not be clearly or immediately reflected in policy decisions. In the specific context of the policy work undertaken by ITFB, the highly collaborative nature of Branch’s work further limits the ability of an evaluation to clearly attribute outcomes related to government-wide and international priorities to ITFB’s policy function alone. The Branch shares responsibilities and collaborates closely with other government departments, international organizations and G20 partners in advancing federal government policy priorities related to aid, trade and international economic growth and stability. Consequently, the approach adopted for this evaluation focused on assessing ITFB’s contribution to departmental, government and international policy outcomes and its value added in collaborative processes.

The evaluation methodology focused on the quality and usefulness of ITFBs policy outputs and the appropriateness or adequacy of its processes and resources for producing policy analysis and advice. The quality assessment was based on criteria identified by Schacter (see Table 1) for high-quality policy advice. The evaluation approach also incorporated elements of organizational assessment inspired by the balanced scorecard methodology, assessing ITFB’s relations with its clients and stakeholders, the appropriateness of its organizational structure and internal processes, and the level of its financial and human resources.[2] Evaluation findings were summarized and reported using a management framework for strategic planning, highlighting strengths, limitations, opportunities and risks for ITFB going forward.[3]

Table 1. Schacter’s Quality Criteria for High-Quality Policy Advice[4]
Is it timely?
Is it based on adequate consultations?
Does it articulate a clear purpose?
Is it logical, differentiating facts from assumptions and linking conclusions to recommendations?
Is it based on sound evidence?
Is it balanced, and does it include multiple viewpoints?
Does it present viable options for action?
Is it relevant to the actual situation, and does it anticipate related developments?
Is it well organized and well presented to the reader?
Is it pragmatic, bearing in mind implementation issues?

3.2   Evaluation Issues 

The broad evaluation issues assessed by the evaluation are outlined in Table 2 and reflect the core evaluation issues identified in the 2009 Treasury Board Directive on the Evaluation Function. Each evaluation question is linked to the data sources expected to provide evidence, which are described in detail in section 3.3.

Table 2. Evaluation Issues and Lines of Evidence[5]
    Data Collection Methods
   
Evaluation Issue Evaluation Questions Document Review   Interviews Case Studies
Relevance        
Demonstrated need and alignment with government priorities, roles and responsibilities R1: To what extent are the objectives and activities of the Branch still relevant and in line with the priorities and the roles and responsibilities of the Department and the federal government? X X
Performance        
Organizational capacity P1: To what extent do the organizational structure, work environment and internal processes support the effective execution of the Branch mandate and achievement of its objectives? Have these changed over time?

P2: To what extent do human resources practices of the Branch effectively support the recruitment, development and retention of highly skilled staff? Does the Branch have appropriate tools and other resources to achieve its objectives?
X
Achievement of expected outcomes P3: To what extent has the Branch achieved its objectives and expected outcomes, in particular with respect to providing high-quality policy analysis and advice? (Schacter’s criteria) X X X
Efficiency and economy P4.1: How have the trends in the Branch’s operational resources ($ and FTE) compared to the trend of its outputs/activities?

P4.2 What steps/measures has the Branch taken during the past five years to improve its efficiency and economy?

P4.3 Are there ways to undertake key activities and deliver key outputs more economically and efficiently?
X X X
Note: An “X” indicates that this line of evidence was used.

3.3   Data Collection Methods 

A combination of quantitative and qualitative data was used in this evaluation. Quantitative data analyzed included historic financial and FTE data for the Branch, as well as results of recent Public Service Employee Surveys. Qualitative data were collected through document reviews, interviews and case studies. Table 3 provides an overview of interviews conducted for this evaluation. A detailed discussion of the data collection methods follows.

Table 3. Matrix of Evaluation Participants
Participant Type Total Interviews[6] Case Studies
Internal    
ITFB management and staff 30 16
External    
Departmental stakeholders 8 3
External stakeholders 20 13
 
Total 58 32

3.3.1   Document Review and Analysis

Key documents related to Branch activities, outputs and outcomes that were reviewed include Branch administrative and planning documents such as organizational charts, divisional work plans and travel records; Branch outputs such as policy papers, briefing notes and presentations; Branch financial and FTE data over a 5- to 10-year period;[7] Public Service Employee Survey results for 2011 and 2008; Branch inputs to departmental planning and performance reports such as integrated business plans, corporate risk profiles, Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports; and federal government planning and priority-setting documents such as annual budgets, Throne Speeches and economic plans. The purpose of the document review and analysis was to better understand the context in which the Branch operates and conducts its activities, to inform the development of the methodology and data collection tools, and to assess elements of ITFB’s relevance and performance.

3.3.2   Interviews

Key informant interviews were a primary source of evidence for the evaluation. A total of 58 interviews were conducted, in roughly equal proportion between internal (Branch) and external informants. A purposeful sample of internal and external informants was selected to obtain a comprehensive and balanced perspective of the relevance and performance of key Branch functions. Table 3 summarizes the distribution of interviews by type of informant.

The sample of internal interviews was selected to include Branch senior management and management of all three ITFB divisions, and a roughly equal proportion of staff, with representation from each of the nine sections of the Branch. Staff interviews were selected to include an appropriate mix of working level (senior economists/analysts) and more junior staff, and staff with varying lengths of experience with the Branch. Most Branch staff interviewed, however, had at least two years of experience with the Branch.

External informants were targeted based on their role in collaborating with ITFB on selected issues and familiarity with Branch policy outputs. External informants were selected from other parts of the Department (including senior management), other government departments, international organizations and other external organizations. The sample was selected to include representation across a range of partners and policy activities that the Branch is involved in. In addition, “snowball sampling” was used to a limited extent among external informants to identify additional relevant informants.

Separate general interview guides were developed for internal and external interviews. Comprehensive internal interviews with Branch management and staff examined the relevance of Branch activities; organizational capacity, including adequacy of structures, resources and processes; achievement of expected outcomes; and economy and efficiency of operations. External interviews were considerably more targeted, focusing on complementarity of Branch activities, effectiveness of collaboration and achievement of expected outcomes.

3.3.3 Case Studies

Thirty-two of the interviews conducted for this evaluation included questions related to one of three case studies for this evaluation: 1) Co-Management of the International Assistance Envelope; 2) G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth; and 3) Tariff Relief.

The purpose of the case studies was to examine in-depth selected Branch activities and outcomes. Case studies were selected to include coverage of important policy work of each of the Branch’s three divisions and the Branch’s three main policy function activities as defined in the evaluation logic model (Appendix B).

Case study specific questions were incorporated into the general interview guides for selected informants. These questions focused on achievement of expected outcomes, including value added of Branch activities, effectiveness of collaborative processes, quality of policy analysis, and advice and contribution to departmental and government priorities and outcomes. Data collected from interviews and document review was analyzed and reported for each case study. Case study findings were also analyzed across the three case studies to confirm findings from general interviews and a document review on relevance and performance of Branch activities.

3.4 Limitations 

As discussed in section 3.1, inherent challenges with evaluating policy functions limited the conclusions the evaluation was able to make on ITFB’s contribution to achieving the Department’s or the government’s international policy outcomes. Other limitations include the following:

  • The broad scope of a branch-level evaluation resulted to some extent in a trade-off in balancing the depth and breadth of evaluation coverage. Given that this was the first evaluation of the Branch, a broad scope for the evaluation was necessary. The use of case studies mitigated this constraint to a large extent.
  • The small sample size of external stakeholders from each partner organization limits the ability to generalize findings on the effectiveness of Branch collaboration to overall relationships with specific partner organizations. The large total sample of external interviewees and efforts to target the most relevant external informants resulted in a minimal impact on overall evaluation findings.
  • Lack of government-wide data limited the ability to benchmark relative economy and efficiency of ITFB’s travel practices, a large component of its operating costs. The evaluation had to rely to a large extent on qualitative information from interviews (which was consistent and strong) to gauge this aspect of economy and efficiency.

4.0 Evaluation Findings  

The following sections present the main findings by evaluation issue as outlined in the evaluation framework. As much as possible, data from multiple lines of evidence were triangulated to confirm and formulate the conclusions and recommendations in this section.

4.1 Relevance 

This section examines the continued relevance of ITFB activities and their alignment with the roles, responsibilities and priorities of the federal government. It includes an assessment of the extent to which Branch activities complement those of other branches and government departments and whether there are any areas of overlap and potential duplication of activities.

Key Findings

ITFB activities were found overall to be relevant and aligned to the needs and mandate of the Department and to government priorities.

ITFB is involved in many activities for which broader responsibility is shared between multiple government departments. The Branch was found to play a clear, distinct and value-added role based on specific legislative and statutory responsibilities of the Minister of Finance and departmental areas of expertise.

In recent years, ITFB has acquired increasing responsibilities for program administration of international development initiatives with IFIs, which are less clearly aligned to the core policy mandate and responsibilities of the Branch/Department. This is an area where ITFB could better focus and limit its activities going forward.

ITFB supports the Minister of Finance with policy analysis and advice on international economic, finance, development and trade issues related to the Minister’s statutory and non-statutory responsibilities. These statutory responsibilities emanate from a number of statutes, including the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, the Customs Tariff, the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) Act, the Special Import Measures Act, the Export Credits Insurance Act;and the various Budget Implementation Acts. The Minister’s non-statutory responsibilities include representing the Government of Canada in such international economic forums as the G7/G20 and APEC. ITFB is also responsible for the Department’s central agency challenge function on spending proposals related to foreign, trade, aid and border policy, and oversight of relevant Crown corporations engaged in international trade. Thus, the Branch’s activities are clearly aligned with the roles and responsibilities of the federal government as well as the departmental mandate of supporting a strong economy and sound public finances.

Job creation and economic growth has been the top priority of the Government of Canada.[8] Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2012 has reiterated this while focusing on a return to balanced budgets over the medium term. Recent Throne Speeches and budgets link Canada’s economic stability and growth to global economic and financial stability.[9] For example, Budget 2011 linked Canada’s long-term prosperity to the country’s ability to engage in the global economy, and identified an open, strong and resilient global economy essential for trade and investment opportunities for Canadian businesses. The Branch works toward a more stable and secure international financial system to minimize external threats to Canada’s economic prospects. This is supported, for example, through prudent stewardship of Canada’s participation in international financial and development institutions and in economic forums. Branch interviewees, in general, cited ITFB’s work monitoring global economic and financial trends and developments, supporting international economic coordination through the G20, and funding for IFIs and financial stability in developing countries as ways in which the Branch’s work contributes to global economic growth and stability.

The government has also long identified free and open trade as a powerful engine for the Canadian economy that supports job creation and economic growth. The Economic Action Plan 2012 proposed to intensify Canada’s pursuit of new and deeper trade and investment relationships, particularly with large, dynamic and fast-growing economies. Evidence from both internal and external interviews indicate that ITFB works directly, through its International Trade Policy Division, with the Canadian manufacturing sector for elimination of tariff and other trade-related barriers that help promote an open and dynamic international trade while enhancing the competitiveness of Canada’s manufacturing sector. The Branch actively engages with DFAIT and other government departments at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels to negotiate and implement international market access agreements to promote Canada’s trade and investment interests. Section 4.2.1.2, “Achievement of Expected Outcomes,” describes recent contributions that ITFB’s work has made toward advancing various government and departmental priorities.

Considerable changes in the external environment over the past five years have provided an opportunity for the Branch to increase its relevance within the Department and government-wide. Most notably, the global financial crisis of 2008 heightened the need for international economic coordination. The crisis, for example, led to the addition of a Leaders’ Summit to the G20 process, which previously was exclusively a forum for finance ministers. This has elevated the Branch’s significance and thus the importance of timely and high-quality policy analysis and advice on international economic policy issues. There has also been a structural proliferation in G20 processes, including formalized working groups and deputies’ meetings. As a result, ITFB has had to support an increasingly large and complex multilateral agenda in recent years. Since 2009, Canada has also co-chaired the Working Group for the G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth, which has further increased the need for coordinating policy analysis and advice and policy development with other key federal departments, including the Bank of Canada, DFAIT and the Privy Council Office (PCO).[10]

The global financial crisis also heightened the need for multilateral development banks’ assistance in developing countries. At the same time, resources for international assistance have been reduced through the government’s deficit reduction plan, following a sustained period of growth. These developments have increased the importance of a strong challenge function on aid spending proposals and have enhanced the need for engaging with IFIs on innovative financing mechanisms and more effective aid delivery while protecting the country’s financial risk exposures to these institutions.

Historically, participation in multilateral trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization has been a traditional platform for ITFB to advance government priorities related to trade liberalization. As these negotiations have stalled in recent years, the Branch has effectively adapted its activities and focus to influencing trade policy through support to multiple bilateral and regional trade negotiations, in line with current government priorities.

Many of ITFB activities contribute to priorities and objectives shared by other government departments. The Branch collaborates extensively with other government departments and with other branches of the Department of Finance. For example, ITFB works closely on diverse issues related to international trade, development, finance and economic analysis and policy coordination with DFAIT, CIDA, the Bank of Canada, CBSA and CITT. In interviews with Branch staff and key partners, the Branch’s role and activities have largely been viewed as complementary to the activities of these partners. ITFB was found to play a clear, distinct and value-added role based on specific legislative and statutory responsibilities of the Minister of Finance and departmental areas of expertise. For example, the Branch collaborates closely with DFAIT on trade negotiations. While DFAIT focuses on the export side, ITFB’s focus is on the import side as it impacts revenues and the overall economy, consistent with the trade legislative and policy responsibilities of the Minister and Department. Similarly, ITFB complements the work of CIDA and DFAIT in managing Canada’s international assistance resources. While the Branch provides a domestic fiscal perspective, CIDA provides a development perspective and DFAIT a global political economy perspective. Within the Department, the Branch collaborates with the Economic and Fiscal Policy and Financial Sector Policy branches, which also work on certain international economic and financial issues. Intra-departmental work was found to be well-coordinated. In recent years, there have been efforts to improve coordination within the Department on analysis of international economic issues in order to minimize potential duplication.

In recent years, ITFB has acquired responsibility for program administration of some international development financing initiatives originating through G7/G20 processes. These have been implemented through the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, where the Department has led policy responsibilities. Although resource implications for these activities are quite limited in scale, requiring two to three FTEs at most, they are not as clearly aligned with the core policy responsibilities of the Branch or Department. It was noted that ITFB’s networks and expertise were instrumental in facilitating Canada’s timely participation in these initiatives in support of overall government objectives. However, it is not clear that the Branch is best placed to manage ongoing administrative responsibilities for these programs, in particular, ongoing monitoring of longer-term development results and effectiveness. This role is more appropriately aligned with the mandate of CIDA, the lead implementing agency for Canada’s international assistance resources. This was recognized by relevant internal and external stakeholders interviewed, and ITFB has been working more closely with CIDA on issues related to financing development programs through the IFIs where it has lead policy responsibilities. This dialogue and collaboration should continue with a view to limiting the need for ITFB’s longer-term involvement in administration of these types of development programs.

The evidence presented in this section supports the conclusion that ITFB activities overall continue to be relevant and consistent with the roles and responsibilities of the federal government and the mandate of the Department of Finance. Its activities are well-aligned to ongoing government priorities and objectives. The current context of fiscal restraint, however, presents an opportunity to further focus its resources and activities on core areas of expertise. This includes limiting taking on responsibilities for administration of international development programs going forward.

Recommendation 1: ITFB should continue dialogue and collaboration with CIDA on financing of international development programs through IFIs, with a view to limit taking on international development program administration responsibilities, to the extent possible.

4.2   Performance 

4.2.1 Effectiveness 

This section begins with an assessment of the appropriateness of ITFB’s organizational structure, resources, and internal processes and practices in support of its activities and objectives. This is followed by an assessment of ITFB’s performance related to its main objective of providing senior government officials with policy-focused research that is timely and of high quality on priority and emerging international economic, financial, trade and development issues. ITFB’s administration of payments to international organizations and its contribution to the departmental outcomes and government priorities are also briefly examined.

Key Findings

Current organizational structure, resources and internal processes were found to be strong and effective in supporting ITFB to carry out its key activities. ITFB has a strong management team and a skilled and highly motivated workforce. An area identified for improvement is knowledge management within the Branch.

The quality of policy analysis and advice produced by ITFB was found to be high all round and across its three divisions, with very few areas for improvement identified by internal and external stakeholders alike.

Collaboration with key partners was found to be strong, and the Branch is well regarded by its partners. Its work is contributing to advancing government priorities related to international economic policy, development, trade and competitiveness.

Going forward, the main challenges for the Branch relate to promoting sustainability, further leveraging current effective networks with key partners, and continuing to improve its ability to achieve effective international influence with more attention to proactive policy analysis and advice on priority international economic policy issues.

4.2.1.1 Organizational Capacity

ITFB was widely characterized as a relatively flat organization, which was viewed as a strength. Communication and feedback channels between staff and management were found to be clear and effective. The Clerk of the Privy Council Office’s most recent annual report to the Prime Minister on the public service of Canada highlights the importance of a high-performing and adaptable public service and rigorous performance management.[11] Performance feedback within the Branch was considered to be clear and frank, and provided on an ongoing basis. Most staff felt they have relatively easy access to managers and Branch senior management, and information flow was considered good. Quality of policy analysis and advice outputs is monitored principally through the hierarchical structure, which was widely viewed as effective. Policy analysis and advice outputs were thought to receive adequate attention and useful, timely feedback from various levels of Branch management. The division of senior management responsibilities between ITFB’s ADM and general director was also viewed as effective in supporting the Branch’s ability to deliver quality analysis and advice on relatively short timelines.

In terms of human resources, the ideal skill set for the Branch was described as staff with strong technical (economic) skills, who can write and communicate well. It was noted by most internal interviewees that ITFB is easily able to attract and retain highly skilled and motivated staff due to the interesting and dynamic nature of its work, including opportunities for travel.

University recruitment was identified as the primary tool for recruiting junior staff and is viewed to be effective in bringing in new staff with strong skills and talent. The Department’s EC Development program then helps ensure their progression and retention. Senior expertise in more specialized areas, such as trade policy, is often recruited from other government departments that have complementary trade-related mandates. It was noted that ITFB faces greater challenges in recruiting more seasoned, senior expertise in certain areas, most notably, economists who have strong technical skills and experience in international macroeconomic analysis, due to limited availability and more competitive compensation and attractive opportunities elsewhere.

Training and development of staff was found to be appropriate. A lot of learning among Branch staff is on the job, including via participation in international meetings and negotiations. In the current environment of fiscal restraint, several internal interviewees indicated that it is important that these types of opportunities continue to exist, although they may be fewer. Opportunities for relevant formal training were in general viewed to be more limited, not due to availability of resources, but rather challenges in identifying appropriate specialized training. Some interviewees indicated that they considered development and promotion opportunities, particularly for more senior economists and staff in the Branch, to be more limited, and expected this to worsen in coming years with ongoing fiscal restraint. Employee development is acknowledged as a Department-wide issue based on 2011 Public Service Employee Survey results that the Department has begun taking steps to address.

Demographic data for ITFB as well as internal interviews indicate that it experienced significant turnover at the management and executive level in 2011–12, which appears to now be stabilizing. Staff and management alike agreed that the current ITFB management team is very solid. Overall, turnover to date was not viewed as a significant issue by any division in terms of impacts on Branch capacity and effectiveness. However, looking forward, recruitment and retention challenges continue to be identified as key Branch and departmental risks given fiscal restraint and other operating constraints. Branch senior management noted that the Branch continues to face some key position risks if senior staff leave, and risks of not maintaining a core depth of expertise in specialized areas such as international macroeconomic analysis. Succession planning within the Branch was generally found to be effective, although it could be further improved with better knowledge management as discussed later in this section. The practice of having more than one staff involved on key files was noted by many interviewees to facilitate transfer of work, if required.

On the issue of work-life balance, overall the evaluation found that ITFB management and staff were satisfied with their ability to maintain a good work-life balance. Workloads were considered manageable for the most part, and it is largely understood that travel is part of the job and part of the choice to work at ITFB. Management was generally thought to set a good example in promoting work-life balance. The exception to these general findings, however, was within the International Policy and Analysis Division, which was characterized as operating at “full steam” on a sustained basis since the 2008 financial crisis. Interviews with management and staff indicate that maintaining work-life balance is more of a challenge for some staff in this group. This suggests a possible need to review priorities, workloads and resource allocation and use in relation to this Division, which is discussed further in section 4.2.1.2, “Achievement of Expected Outcomes.” In the interim, some suggestions provided to improve work-life balance include establishing norms for BlackBerry use, rotating staff “on call” outside of office hours, and exercising more selectivity in forwarding correspondence for action outside of office hours.

Overall, ITFB is widely viewed by staff and colleagues in the Department as a good place to work and is described as a collegial, respectful and professional environment. 2011 Public Service Employee (PSE) Survey results for ITFB confirm high levels of satisfaction among its staff with its leadership, workforce and workplace in comparison with department- and public service–wide results; Branch results have generally improved since the 2008 PSE Survey. Summary results of the 2011 PSE Survey for the Branch are presented below. In interviews, staff indicated that they are given interesting, challenging work, and often work on a diverse range of files. Junior staff in particular expressed appreciation for social events organized by the Branch and other opportunities to share information and interact with colleagues across divisions, such as Branch-wide brown bag lunches. They viewed these as important to maintain.

Summary Results for ITFB From the Public Service Employee Survey 2011

Table 4 presents comparative summary results for some relevant survey sections from the Public Service Employee (PSE) Survey 2011. The figures are averages of the percentages of positive responses to questions asked under corresponding survey sections. The survey calculated positive answers by summing the percentages for the two most positive response categories (e.g., “Strongly agree” and “Somewhat agree”), excluding “Don’t know” and “Not applicable” responses. The results clearly show that in all included survey sections ITFB significantly outperformed not only the entire public service of Canada but also the Department of Finance.

Table 4: Average Percentages of Positive Responses to 2011 PSE Survey Sections
Survey Sections International Trade
and Finance Branch
Department
of Finance
Public Service
of Canada
My Job World 72.8 65.4 64.1
My Skills and Career 83.4 71.4 68.4
My Work Unit 88.2 81.5 79.2
Communication With my Immediate Supervisor 87.8 79.4 76.8
Staffing 85.0 81.0 61.5
My Organization (Department/Agency) 82.6 71.8 61.5
Source: Public Service Employee Survey 2011. Averages are evaluators’ calculations, i.e., simple arithmetic mean of the percentages of positive responses to questions pertaining to each survey section.

Under “My Job World,” the survey asked questions related to the overall job environment. It included such questions as I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job; my job is a good fit with my interests; I am encouraged to be innovative or to take initiative in my work. The questions under “My Skills and Career” related to skills, training and career development within the department or agency. Under “My Work Unit,” the survey questions related to suitability of physical work environment (office, workspace, etc.), working relationships with co-workers, and absence of any form of discrimination in the work unit. “Communication with my immediate Supervisor” survey questions related to the effectiveness of communication with employees’ immediate supervisor. Questions about fairness and effectiveness of staffing process in the employee’s work unit were asked under “Staffing.” The survey asked questions relating to the employee’s outlook about his or her department or agency under “My Organization.” Questions under this section included My department or agency does a good job of communicating its vision, mission and goals; I have confidence in the senior management of my department or agency; I would recommend my department or agency as a great place to work.

In terms of access to data and tools, although most staff felt they largely had access to databases and tools required to do their jobs, some technology constraints were cited as limitations to ITFB’s effectiveness and efficiency. These were found for the most part to be outside of the control of the Branch. For example, ongoing departmental issues over the past year related to Internet access and the department’s transition to a more secure IT network were stated by virtually all internal interviewees as having an impact on their ability to effectively and efficiently communicate and share information with external partners and monitor external events. Given the nature of this Branch’s work, which necessitates regular interface with stakeholders outside of the Department, these IT constraints have been acutely felt by ITFB. Limitations regarding secure government-wide IT platforms and systems for sharing data and information among government departments was also found to be a constraint for the Branch, given its significant needs for inter-departmental collaboration. For example, the Department’s level of access to C-5 technology (which is hosted by DFAIT) was cited as a challenge resulting in inefficiencies for the work of the International Trade Policy Division. As the government evolves and develops its IT shared services model, efforts are being made to address these technology constraints government-wide. However, this will take time. Branch efforts and opportunities to improve use of technology for greater efficiency are discussed further in section 4.2.2, “Efficiency and Economy.”

According to internal interviews, knowledge management within the Branch was perceived to be adequate but an area in which ITFB can improve. The shared drive is the main repository for information within the Branch. The evaluation found no clear (or strong) desire for new internal knowledge management tools or technology. An information management tool developed using Microsoft SharePoint was piloted in the International Trade Policy Division. However, to be effective, it required active maintenance and widespread buy-in. Management must determine whether it is worth the effort. In addition, there may be opportunities to make better use of the existing shared drive across the Branch for maintaining corporate memory with respect to email correspondence in particular, as well as analysis and other knowledge for which there is not a department-wide records system. At the same time, it was noted that use of the shared drive had improved in recent years within the Branch overall, although it appears to be used to varying extents across divisions. There are potentially opportunities to share best practices across divisions. Given the current flux in the external environment of the Branch, with changes to government-wide IT management, the upcoming physical relocation of the Department and plans to implement an eventual Department-wide electronic records management system, interim steps to improve knowledge management within the Branch may be best directed at making better use of its existing shared drive.

These findings on the organizational capacity of ITFB indicate that it is a strong organization with an effective structure, resources and internal processes to support its key activities. The Branch faces some potential threats to maintaining good work-life balance across its organization, which also have implications for its overall performance that are discussed further in the next section of this report. ITFB also faces some technology constraints that are mostly outside of its control. There is, however, an opportunity for ITFB to further improve organizational effectiveness by strengthening knowledge management practices within the Branch.

Recommendation 2: ITFB should explore and implement actions to improve knowledge management systems and practices within the Branch.

4.2.1.2 Achievement of Expected Outcomes

Policy Function

ITFB has been characterized as a relatively lean branch that feeds demands for information, analysis and advice from a wide range of partners and stakeholders within the Department of Finance and other government departments that have international portfolios. Departmental analysis indicates that relative to other branches in the Department of Finance, ITFB staff dedicate a higher proportion of their time to providing current analysis and advice and participating in consultations and negotiations with external stakeholders.

Using Schacter’s criteria for high-quality policy advice as described in section 3.1, “Evaluation Approach,” interviewees were asked to comment on the overall quality of policy analysis and advice provided by the Branch, including areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. According to general and case study interviews within the Branch and with its key external stakeholders in other government departments and international organizations, the overall quality of the policy analysis and advice provided by the Branch is considered to be high across all of its key areas of expertise, i.e., development policy, international finance, international economic policy and analysis, and trade and tariff policy. Particular strengths in the quality of policy analysis and advice provided by ITFB include analysis and advice that is clear, relevant, well-founded and pragmatic.

Consultations with other government departments, international organizations and G20 partners are a key aspect of the Branch’s work. Working relationships with stakeholders inside and outside the Department were generally found to be strong, and the Branch is well regarded by its partners. External partners and stakeholders in general noted that Branch staff are knowledgeable, professional and responsive. Branch expertise in international development and export finance, international economic policy and analysis and import and trade policy, are relied on, and its perspectives are highly valued by external partners in other government departments and other external organizations. According to interviews, in recent years the Branch has placed an emphasis on ensuring effective working relationships with external partners. There have been noted improvements in the level, quality and effectiveness of collaboration and coordination in the areas of co-management of international assistance envelope (see Case Study 1), inter-departmental priority setting with regard to Canada’s participation in multilateral and regional development banks with CIDA and DFAIT, and intra-departmental analysis and advice on international macroeconomic issues with the Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch of the Department of Finance. At the same time, it was noted in internal and external interviews alike that the ability to maintain effective working relationships over time is to some extent personality-dependent. Taking steps to institutionalize to the extent possible some of the successful collaborative processes and structures put in place in recent years would be useful to promote the sustainability of ITFB’s existing effective collaboration and coordination with key partners and stakeholders inside and outside the Department. These include, for example, ensuring regular senior-level intra- and inter-departmental coordination meetings (and briefing down to the working level) and joint priority-setting exercises on issues where the Branch has shared or complementary responsibilities with others, such as participation in multilateral development banks.

Case Study 1: Co-Management of the International Assistance Envelope

Canada’s international assistance resources are co-managed within the International Assistance Envelope (IAE) by CIDA, DFAIT and the Department of Finance, in collaboration with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and PCO. The IAE is both a financial structure and a policy tool “to enable Ministers to work together to determine international assistance priorities, make broad funding decisions, and ‘review how various programmes and expenditures combine to create a Canadian response to global challenges.’” Management of international assistance resources are decentralized to federal departments via five funding and programming pools: development, IFIs, peace and security, crisis, and development research.[12]

The International Finance and Development Division of ITFB participates in interdepartmental IAE policy discussions on behalf of the Department, and manages the IFI pool of the envelope on behalf of the Minister of Finance. ITFB is considered a highly valued partner by other IAE departments and central agencies for providing a strong challenge function on aid spending proposals; domestic (fiscal) perspectives, including long-term sustainability of the envelope; and innovative ideas on development financing through its G7/G20 and IFI networks. ITFB is respected for providing high-quality analysis and advice that contributes to effective and efficient aid spending. In addition to exercising an effective challenge function, other notable Branch contributions include policy work leading up to Budget 2007, which announced government objectives and priorities relating to aid effectiveness, and advancing innovative and results-based financing initiatives for vaccine development and food security.

The Department’s primary central agency challenge function role on spending proposals submitted by IAE programming departments can embed an inherent tension in the relationship with these departments. In recent years, ITFB has made fruitful efforts to strengthen relations with other IAE departments, notably CIDA and DFAIT. Working relationships and effectiveness of the Department’s collaboration with other IAE programming departments and central agencies are currently viewed as strong and effective, and widely characterized as “at a good place.”

Given its dual role in the IAE management framework playing a primary challenge function role and managing the IFI pool of the IAE, it is important that ITFB is mindful of the potential for a perceived conflict of interest, particularly in cases where the Branch is advocating for funding for IFI initiatives. Useful in mitigating the risk of such perceptions arising is to continue with best practices of (1) maintaining strong dialogue with other IAE partners; (2) ensuring a strong evidence basis to support initiatives; and (3) facilitating early engagement of other IAE partners in these initiatives, providing space for them to exercise a counter-challenge function.

There is a general perception among all partners that the broader IAE framework can be improved to achieve its intended objectives of coherence and efficiency in allocating international assistance resources. Inter-departmental efforts have been ongoing to make incremental changes to improve the overall IAE management framework. An inter-departmental review or evaluation of the IAE in the future may be a useful exercise.

Within the Branch, timeliness of analysis and advice was viewed as a strength, in the sense that the Branch often works with short turnaround times and does well in meeting deadlines. External stakeholders interviewed generally agreed with this perspective. At the same time, it was observed by some stakeholders that a potential area for improvement for the Branch is more proactive and timely sharing of analysis and advice, mainly in the context of international economic policy analysis and coordination and its participation in IFIs for which the Minister of Finance has lead responsibility. This is viewed as an opportunity for the Branch to better leverage these networks with key partners to improve overall quality of policy briefings, analysis and advice provided to government officials. For example, in the context of multilateral policy work on G20 issues, partners in other government organizations and IFIs indicated a preference for earlier analysis (even preliminary) and earlier engagement in formulating analysis and advice to enable them to provide a better contribution to policy development and advancement. Case Study 2 illustrates these findings in the context of the Branch’s work on the G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth.

In the context of public service renewal and a commitment to excellence, excellence in policy includes balancing needs to respond to urgent issues with investment in anticipatory longer-term strategic thinking and analysis, ensuring knowledge and analytic rigor and strengthening engagement with others, including academia, think tanks, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and citizens.[13]

In general, the Branch was found to face considerable demands for information and analysis on current issues, limiting the extent of its anticipatory and longer-term analytic work. In internal interviews, the balance of time spent on addressing current demands vs. anticipatory thinking on longer-term strategic issues was viewed by most staff as appropriate, given the level and nature of demands on their particular Division and its resources. The extent of work on anticipatory vs. current policy issues varies across Divisions and reflects the nature of the work of each of these Divisions. For example, the International Policy and Analysis Division, which is responsible for ongoing monitoring and analysis of global economic developments, such as the European debt crisis, and international economic policy coordination through G20 processes has had significant and increasing demands for analysis on current issues in response to a rapidly changing global economic environment in recent years. The shift in focus over the years from the G7/G8 to the more complex G20 forum, including the addition of a Leaders' Summit, has led to a structural proliferation in G20 processes. Added to existing responsibilities for APEC and G7/G8 processes, ITFB has had to support an increasingly large and complex multilateral agenda and meeting schedule, with active participation largely mandatory. This in turn has required allocation of significantly more time and Branch resources in recent years, for example, to brief both the Minister of Finance and other government departments and officials on global economic policy issues. These changes have impacted workload, travel budgets, staffing and work-life balance within the Branch.

The impact of growing demands for international economic coordination on workload and priorities is increasingly a key policy risk for ITFB and the Department. Evidence collected through the evaluation suggests that a high level of current demands for information, analysis and advice in international economic issues has limited ITFB's ability to undertake more anticipatory work on these policy issues and international processes. It also increasingly poses a risk to maintaining manageable workloads across the Branch, particularly for the International Policy and Analysis Division. Increased attention to balancing responding to current demands and more forward-looking work and strategic thinking on important issues could help ITFB improve its ability to achieve international influence. This is illustrated further in Case Study 2 on the Branch's role in supporting Canada participation in the G20 Framework on Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth. It should be noted, however, that these increased pressures on the Branch are likely to continue beyond Canada's co-chairmanship of the G20 Framework process. A review of Branch resource allocation across various tasks along with a focus on prioritization of issues could aid the Branch to: (1) sustainably manage high workload demands; and (2) obtain an optimal balance between meeting current analysis demands and more forward-looking, longer-term strategic analysis and work on priority international economic policy issues.

Reviewing how Branch resources are allocated across various tasks could help inform options for the ITFB to achieve a more optimal balance of resource use to sustainably manage high workload demands and deeper attention to priority issues. This is likely to require increased focus on prioritization of activities and possibly some rebalancing of organizational resources.

Case Study 2: G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced Growth

The G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced Growth was established at the 2009 Pittsburgh Summit, building on the success of G20 collective action in the forms of macroeconomic stimulus and financial sector intervention that followed the November 2008 Washington Summit at the onset of the global financial crisis. The Framework is a mechanism that commits G20 members to work together, through a Mutual Assessment Process (MAP), to assess how member countries’ policies fit together and whether they are collectively consistent with strong, sustainable and balanced growth. This helps members identify and assess global economic risks and vulnerabilities, and coordinate policies designed to foster growth. The IMF, with inputs from other international organizations, including the World Bank, provides technical analysis for the MAP. Canada and India have co-chaired since its launch of the Framework Working Group (FWG) of senior officials responsible for carrying forward this process.

Canada’s G20 Deputy serves as the co-chair of the FWG on behalf of Canada and represents Canada. ITFB provides the analytical and logistical support to the G20 Deputy in carrying out the dual role. The Branch serves as the de facto secretariat for the FWG, and this considerably augments Canada’s role in the process. Key responsibilities in the co-chair role include the following:

  • Lead the negotiation and development of all G20 Framework deliverables, including Action Plan, Framework Working Group Report, and G20 Co-Chairs’ Report.
  • Track positions of all G20 members, undertake bilateral negotiations with key members to overcome differences and achieve consensus, and ensure that the views of all G20 members are heard and reflected in the Framework deliverables
  • Conduct analytical work to identify key weaknesses in the global economy, and develop proposals for policy actions by G20 members.

The co-chairing the FWG is one of Canada’s top international policy priorities, which the Prime Minister has reaffirmed at the Seoul Summit in November 2010.

Interviews, both internal and external, overwhelmingly supported that Canada, as a co-chair has been instrumental in moving the Framework agenda forward by focusing on the right issues and pushing for rational commitments under challenging circumstances in terms of divergent positions of different countries on such high-profile issues as the European debt crisis, medium-term fiscal structures in the US and Japan, and exchange rate regimes in emerging countries, in particular, China.

The co-chairmanship of the FWG has been considered a good investment for Canada toward effective international influence, one of the four key program priorities of the Department of Finance. It has provided the country with an opportunity to play a leadership role in a challenging multilateral context and enhanced the country’s reputation by brokering economic policy coordination at the highest level. Through the working group role, Canada can effectively promote its policy priorities in such areas as fiscal, monetary, economic and structural reform. Thus, for example, one of the key commitments of the 2010 G20 Leaders’ Summit in Toronto was to halve deficits by 2013 and stabilize or reduce government debt-to-GDP ratios by 2016. Canada’s G20 working group role was stated as being instrumental in pushing for the commitment. The co-chair role has also provided Canada an opportunity to improve networking and ties with G20 members and international organizations, especially the IMF.

In carrying out its responsibilities with respect to the G20 Framework process, the International Trade and Finance Branch collaborates with key federal partners, including the Bank of Canada, DFAIT and PCO, as well as the Economic and Fiscal Policy and the Financial Sector Policy branches within the Department as needed. Working relationships have been generally characterized as very good and work as being well coordinated. However, the Branch’s work approach to the G20 Framework process has been characterized as reactive in nature. This was considered by some external partners interviewed as a barrier to the effectiveness of their policy contribution to the process. Although the Branch work thus far has been highly praised, it has been suggested that taking a more proactive approach, including mapping activities over the next six months to a year, and engaging key partners earlier in the policy development process would give them an opportunity to provide better quality and more effective input. For example, more forward planning of activities would help partners better plan their resources.

The somewhat reactive nature of the work with respect to the G20 process, and analysis of global economic developments in general, has been linked to a significant volume of requests for information (backgrounders, speaking points and similar inputs) that the Branch receives from other government departments. The evaluation found that the quality and effectiveness of ITFB’s work on international economic policy analysis and coordination could be improved with increased attention to anticipating and prioritizing policy analysis work. This could help ITFB better balance meeting a high level of external demands for information and improving its ability to achieve effective international influence.

On behalf of the Department, ITFB’s ADM plans and manages the Department’s International Assignments Program (IAP), which places Department of Finance employees as Finance Counsellors in key international economic and financial centres and as staff of IFIs. The IAP serves dual purposes of intelligence gathering for the Department and career progression for participants, and provides opportunities to contribute to advancing Canada’s interests abroad, and the effective governance of IFIs.[14] It was noted by the Department’s senior management that management of the IAP program overall has improved in recent years, with a more professional approach. Interviews with both Branch staff and a sample of IAP participants indicate that working relationships and collaboration between IAP participants and Branch staff are generally good. Networks with IAP participants were considered to be effective from an intelligence-gathering perspective and useful for Branch staff in developing high-quality policy analysis and advice. IAP participants interviewed agreed that Branch staff are responsive to issues they raise. At the same time, some IAP participants indicated that there is an opportunity to better leverage these networks, again through more proactive Branch and Department engagement, including information sharing, with IAP participants. For example, more and early sharing of departmental analysis and views on policy issues can improve the overall relevance and quality of policy analysis and advice that is informed through these networks, and improve the ability of IAP participants posted within IFIs to contribute to advancing Canadian interests. Providing IAP participants with regular updates on corporate issues may also help them remain well connected to the Department and facilitate reintegration.

Consultations with stakeholders outside of government, such as academia, NGOs and think tanks were found to be limited, with the exception of the International Trade Policy Division, which consults widely with industry stakeholders on tariff policy issues. Some staff expressed the view that consulting more with these types of external stakeholders could be helpful to improve overall quality of policy analysis and advice, for example, by avoiding “group think” on issues and better anticipating emerging policy issues. At the same time it was recognized that the Branch’s ability to consult outside of government is limited due to time constraints and confidentiality issues regarding policy development.

Administration of payments to international organizations

In addition to its policy function, ITFB is also responsible for administration of payments to international organizations and Canadian creditors in support of international development and growth, including poverty reduction. A review of existing departmental performance reports and audits and evaluations indicates that administration of these payments has been appropriate.

The most significant ongoing payments are to the International Development Association of the World Bank and support for international debt relief. Both of these transfer payment programs have been evaluated recently by Internal Audit and Evaluation. Results of these evaluations indicate that support to these initiatives continue to be relevant and contribute to achieving Canadian objectives for international development assistance.[15] 

The Branch also administers other international assistance payments to international financial institutions that have stemmed largely from G20 commitments and initiatives since 2009. These include recent development financing initiatives through the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) intended to leverage private sector investment to address international climate change, global agriculture and food security, and small and medium-sized enterprise financing issues. Table 4 identifies the transfer payments and initiatives with IFIs administered by ITFB over the period covered by the evaluation.

Table 5: Transfer Payments and Programs With IFIs Administered by ITFB[16]
Program Organization(s) Value[17] ($ millions) Start Date End Date
Payments to the International Development
 Association (IDA)
World Bank (IDA) $8,944 1960 Ongoing
Compensation to Canadian Agencies
 or Entities Established by an Act of
 Parliament for Reduction of Debts
 of Debtor Countries
Export Development Canada

Canadian Wheat Board
$204.2[18] 1991–92 Ongoing
Debt Payments on Behalf of Poor Countries
 to International Organizations
World Bank/IMF $2,500 2005–06 2054
Global Trade and Liquidity Program World Bank (IFC) $200 2009 2012
Subsidy Resources to the Poverty Reduction
 and Growth Trust
IMF $40 2010 2010
Small and Medium Enterprise Finance Challenge World Bank (IFC) $20 2010 2012
Agriculture Advance Market Commitment
 (AgRESULTS)
World Bank (IBRD) $40 2010 2015
Financial Mechanisms for Climate Change World Bank (IFC) $291.5 2011 2030
Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture
 and Food Security Program
World Bank (IFC) $50 2011 2020
International Bank for Reconstruction and
 Development (IBRD) General Capital Increase
World Bank (IBRD) $98  (USD) 2011 2016

The Branch reports on these payments in the Department’s annual report to Parliament on Canada’s engagement at Bretton Woods institutions. Document review indicates that at present these initiatives are mostly in early implementation stages. Performance indicators have been established; however, there is limited information available on results to date. Canada’s contribution to the IFC’s Global Trade Liquidity Program, which closed in 2012, indicates solid performance, including support for trade in several focus countries for Canadian development assistance. As a first donor, Canada’s support was an important catalyst for funds from other donors. The World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group is currently conducting an evaluation of the IFC’s trade finance programs, including the Global Trade and Liquidity Program.

As required by the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (2008), the Branch has conducted biannual consultations on the Department’s ODA payments through an online public consultation process that has been held in 2008–09 and 2010–11. Internal document review indicates that the Branch has appropriately briefed the Minister of Finance on the results of these consultations and assessed the compliance of its ODA payments with the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act conditions that they (1) contribute to poverty reduction; (2) take into account the perspectives of the poor; and (3) are consistent with international human rights standards. The Branch has also taken steps to improve the consultation process between the two rounds held to date. The Department’s online consultation process was examined briefly in the recent Evaluation of Canada’s Payments to the International Development Association, including feedback on the most recent round of consultations.

Recently, ITFB has created a dedicated section to manage investments and engagement with multilateral institutions, including oversight of financial risks associated with capital subscriptions to IFIs.

Contribution to Departmental Outcomes and Government Priorities

As indicated in the evaluation logic model (Appendix B), ITFB contributes to the departmental strategic outcome of a strong and sustainable economy, resulting in increased standards of living and improved quality of life for Canadians[19] by supporting effective Canadian leadership and influence in support of international economic growth and financial stability, including global poverty reduction, enhanced global competitiveness of domestic industries and expanded commercial opportunities for them, and effective and efficient policies and program spending by departments with international portfolios.

Evidence collected through interviews, case studies and document review indicate that ITFB has made important contributions to advancing departmental outcomes and government priorities related to international economic coordination, development, and trade and competitiveness. Its work has also contributed to the ongoing departmental priorities of effective international influence and presence, as well assustainable economic growth and sound fiscal management.

As noted in Case Study 2, ITFB’s strong performance in supporting Canada’s co-chairmanship of the G20 Framework Working Group has contributed to raising Canada’s visibility and stature within the G20. It has also contributed to demonstrating Canada’s leadership in advancing international economic coordination in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2012 states that, in its capacity as co-chair of the G20 Framework Working Group, Canada has led the development of action plans that deal with pressing global economic concerns, and promote growth and prosperity across the globe.[20] Increased capacity to monitor ongoing global economic developments is relied upon and highly valued by ITFB’s partners within the government to inform Canadian policy and positions on international economic coordination. This includes new tools such as the daily “Euro round-up,” which reports on developments related to the European debt crisis. Government-wide demand for ITFB’s analysis and advice on international economic policy issues has continued to increase over the years.

As discussed in Case Study 1, ITFB has contributed to effective and efficient spending of international assistance resources through its strong challenge function role in the management of the IAE and its contributions to policy work related to aid effectiveness. The Branch has contributed to policy work related to increasing focus in allocating aid resources, reducing administrative costs in delivering international assistance, and more rapid disbursement of funds in response to crisis situations. ITFB has also been instrumental in providing Canadian leadership in financing innovative development initiatives developed through G7/G20 networks. This includes, most recently, the announcement by the Canadian, UK and Australian Prime Ministers of the AgResults initiative at the 2012 G20 Summit in Los Cabos, to support innovation in addressing food security in developing countries. This initiative delivers on a commitment made at the 2010 Toronto Summit.

Recent tariff relief initiatives, work to strengthen the legislative framework for Canada’ import policy, participation in multiple bilateral trade negotiations, and implementation of trade agreements by ITFB have contributed to growing trade and enhancing the competitiveness of domestic industries. Noted contributions include policy work to streamline Canada’s trade remedies system and extend EDC powers to finance Canadian exporters as announced in Budget 2011 and Economic Action Plan 2012; ITFB has supported the conclusion and implementation of trade agreements with Colombia and Peru, and continues to participate in several ongoing negotiations of bilateral and regional trade agreements, alongside DFAIT, with major economies such as India, Japan and the EU. Policy work undertaken by ITFB has also contributed to advancing recent government priorities related to simplifying the Customs Tariff and tariff relief for Canadian manufacturers, as discussed in Case Study 3.

Case Study 3: Tariff Relief

The Minister of Finance is responsible for the revenue side of trade policy, including the Customs Tariff. Section 82 of the Customs Tariff gives the Minister of Finance authority to reduce or eliminate tariffs on manufacturing inputs. The International Trade Policy Division of ITFB evaluates the impact of tariffs on Canadian businesses and consumers and recommends tariff relief to enhance Canadian competitiveness.

In undertaking this work, ITFB consults with various industry stakeholders and collaborates with other government stakeholders, including the Canadian Border Services Agency, which administers the Customs Tariff. ITFB has strong, long-standing relationships and well-established processes for consultation and coordination with key stakeholders on tariff relief issues. Branch staff are viewed as knowledgeable and professional, with a good understanding of the policy issues affecting a wide range of stakeholders inside and outside of government. The quality of policy analysis and advice on tariff issues is considered to be very high, and ITFB is appreciated for its focus on finding workable solutions to tariff policy issues to enhance domestic competitiveness.

ITFB undertakes both responsive and proactive tariff relief work. Historically, much of ITFB’s tariff relief work has been case by case in response to requests for tariff relief by Canadian manufacturers. Budgets 2009 and 2010 announced a series of unilateral tariff relief measures to permanently remove tariffs on manufacturing inputs and machinery and equipment and make Canada a tariff-free zone for industrial manufacturers by 2015. These proactive measures were developed within ITFB over several years, following a 2007 recommendation of the Standing Committee on International Trade “to study the feasibility and the consequences of unilaterally eliminating its remaining industrial tariffs.”[21]

Since 2009, ITFB’s tariff relief work has contributed to the elimination of over 1,800 tariff items and provided more than $435 million in annual tariff relief to Canadian businesses.[22] These measures are well aligned with the government’s long-standing priorities of job creation and economic growth. As this type of proactive tariff relief work continues, it makes an important contribution to advancing government priorities related to trade liberalization, competitiveness and growth, as articulated, for example, in Advantage Canada (2006), the government’s long-term economic plan. These include reducing tax on business investment and reducing red tape associated with imports.

ITFB’s responsive tariff relief line of work was viewed to be shrinking, in part due to recent unilateral tariff relief measures. Tariff policy work is increasingly oriented to supporting DFAIT, which is responsible for the export side of trade, including market access for Canadian firms, in bilateral and regional trade negotiations, and implementing tariff arrangements under various free trade agreements. ITFB is viewed to have a unique and valued expertise on domestic trade laws and economic aspects of trade more generally. As the Branch continues to complement DFAIT’s role in multiple trade negotiations, there is an opportunity for ITFB to further add value and increase its influence by continuing to invest in strategic thinking on trade policy issues. In general, the evaluation found that there is an interest for more senior-level, inter-departmental coordination among the various government departments implicated in trade policy issues.

These findings overall indicate that ITFB is performing well in achieving its objectives by providing the Minister and other senior officials with high-quality policy analysis and advice on international economic, finance, trade and development policy. ITFB has made important contributions to advancing government priorities and supporting Canada’s effective international influence and presence. At the same time, opportunities exist for the Branch to build on its current strengths and deepen engagement with key partners. These relate to promoting the sustainability of effective collaborative networks, and improving ability to achieve international influence through more attention to proactive policy analysis and advice on international economic issues.

Recommendation 3: To sustain and further leverage effective engagement with key partners, ITFB should consider and implement steps to:

a. Institutionalize recent effective intra- and inter-departmental collaborative processes; and

b. Enhance interaction with International Assignments Program (IAP) participants, in conjunction with other branches.

Recommendation 4: To achieve an appropriate balance between meeting a high level of current demands for information and analysis on international economic issues, investing in strategic thinking and anticipatory work on priority issues, and maintaining manageable workloads across the Branch, ITFB should:

a. Undertake a review of resource allocation and use across tasks within the Branch; and

b. Increase attention to proactive policy analysis and advice on international economic policy issues, including forward planning and anticipatory work on priority policy issues.

4.2.2 Efficiency and Economy 

This section examines the economy and efficiency in the operations of the ITFB. The issue is addressed using interviews of Branch staff and management as well as the analysis of personnel and non-personnel expenditure and FTE information obtained from the Corporate Services Branch of the Department.

Key Findings

ITFB conducts its operations across its three divisions with considerable economy and efficiency.

The Branch has demonstrated significant gains in economy and efficiency in recent years. Total expenditure has remained virtually flat since 2007–08 despite the significant rise in its activities and responsibilities since the global financial crisis in 2008.

The evaluation found that ITFB is a lean branch with a strong culture and focus on economy and efficiency of its operations. The Branch utilizes its human resources effectively. Its FTE utilization averaged 70 over the period 2005–06 to 2011–12, ranging between 66 in 2008–09 and 73 in 2010–11. It utilized 69.93 FTEs in 2011–12 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: ITFB Resource Utilization, 2005–06 to 2011–12

Figure 1: ITFB Resource Utilization, 2005–06 to 2011–12. For details, refer to the preceding paragraph.

Although the Branch staffing levels have remained virtually unchanged over the seven years reviewed in Figure 1, ITFB has reallocated internal resources among its three divisions to efficiently respond to changes in its activities, workload and priorities. Prior to 2008–09, Branch resources were more concentrated in the International Trade Policy and the International Finance and Development Divisions relative to the International Policy Analysis Division (see Figure 2). As described in section 4.1, global economic and financial uncertainty since 2008 significantly increased demands on the Branch for monitoring and analyzing global economic developments and providing advice on international economic policy issues. Over time, the relative size of ITFB’s three divisions has evolved to roughly equal-sized organizational units as the capacity of the International Policy Analysis Division was built up.

All three divisions of the Branch have undergone adjustments through mergers and reorganizations of sections that internal interviewees considered appropriate from the perspective of efficiency and economy. For example, the International Trade Policy Division merged two previously separate sections responsible for tariff relief and trade negotiations to realize better synergies and efficiencies. The Division has also eliminated a senior chief position and recently started sharing its executive resources for trade negotiations. A separate section was also created within the International Finance and Development Division to better focus on multilateral institutions.

Figure 2: Evolution of Sizes of ITFB Divisions, 2005–06 to 2011–12

Figure 2: Evolution of Sizes of ITFB Divisions, 2005–06 to 2011–12. For details, refer to the preceding paragraphs

The actual total expenditure of the Branch (in current dollars) remained relatively flat after growing 14% between 2005–06 and 2007–08 (see Figure 1). Total expenditure, which remained below the Branch budget throughout the period, displayed some mild declines in recent years, with minor increase in personnel costs outweighed by considerable non-personnel cost savings.

The non-personnel cost savings came primarily from declines in travel expenditure. In recent years, ITFB has delivered a high level of efficiency in terms of travel practices. Internal interviews indicate that the Branch scrutinizes travel plans with significant emphasis on economy in travel. For example, employees of the International Finance and Development Division have put together a book on travel best practices in order to encourage economy in planning travel. Figure 3 presents ITFB’s travel expenditures since 2005–06.

Figure 3: ITFB Travel Expenditure, 2005–06 to 2011–12

Figure 3: ITFB Travel Expenditure, 2005–06 to 2011–12. For details, refer to the preceding and following paragraphs.

After rising 29% from the 2005–06 level, Branch travel expenditure peaked at about $0.92 million in 2006–07. These expenditures registered considerable declines in the next couple of years reaching $0.64 million in 2011–12. A good part of the Branch’s travel expenditure since 2009–10 was related to the Department’s hosting of G7/G20 meetings and the IAP. If these expenses are excluded, the declining trend in travel expenditure becomes even more prominent, registering a 44% drop in 2011–12 from the 2005–06 peak. Disaggregated travel data show that average (per trip) travel costs have generally fallen in recent years compared with the past across all three divisions of the Branch. The declines in average travel costs are more notable in the International Trade Policy and International Finance and Development Divisions than in the International Policy and Analysis Division.

The substantial savings in travel expenditure in recent years seem in line with the savings from reduced representations at low-priority meetings and more focused representations at other meetings as identified in the 2007 Strategic and Operating Review. A part of travel cost savings in the International Trade Policy Division between 2010 and 2012 was the result of increased use of video conferencing. For example, the Division used video conferencing for six EU subsidy negotiation sessions held between 2010 and 2012.

Internal interviews revealed a number of other measures that ITFB has undertaken in recent years to cut costs and improve efficiency. The Branch has introduced Electronic Briefing Books for senior managers, which was considered effective for minimizing the number of binders and thus administrative costs. Some administrative positions have been eliminated, and it has been suggested that further administrative efficiencies can be realized by using more electronic processes. The International Trade Policy Division has begun utilizing the Electronic Memorandum Approval System, which has been a productivity and efficiency enhancing tool, based on early implementation. Recently, the International Policy Analysis Division has put emphasis on group training sessions to improve productivity while reducing costs.

All internal interviewees in general felt that Branch activities are performed with considerable economy and efficiency, and were able to offer few suggestions for any alternative cost-effective way to conduct their activities. Most suggestions centred around continuing and expanding existing practices and use of electronic tools discussed above. Also mentioned was improving access to secure email and telephone systems that would decrease the need for face-to-face meetings. Better utilization of human resources across groups by spreading work out when pressure points develop was also suggested to be efficiency-enhancing.

The evidence presented in this section indicates that ITFB generally conducts its activities with economy and efficiency. The Branch’s internal adjustments in the relative size of its three divisions as well as merger and reorganization of sections in these divisions to meet evolving needs are consistent with efficiency of operations. The Branch’s flat actual spending in the face of growing activities and responsibilities since the 2008 global financial crisis is a clear indication of economy and efficiency gains.

Going forward, the Branch is encouraged to focus on additional efficiency gains identified in the 2007 Strategic and Operating Review. These include more streamlined briefings, identifying key issues to be advanced and focusing policy resources on these issues, and a more strategic approach to monitoring and analysis of international policy issues. Better knowledge management and utilization of technology, as discussed in section 4.2.1.1, can help boost productivity and thus improve economy and efficiency. Over time, the Branch should continue to explore ways to improve technology access (e.g., C-5 machines) and knowledge management. Branch-wide utilization of the Electronic Memorandum Approval System and increased use of Electronic Briefing Books should also be explored. The Branch should seek to share and expand best practices for travel, training and knowledge management to promote further efficiency gains across divisions.

5.0 Conclusions  

The evaluation found that ITFB is a strong, high-performing Branch. ITFB has done well to effectively adapt to changes in its external environment and meet increasing demands in recent years. Key challenges for the Branch going forward relate to sustainability of current strengths and continuing to increase its ability to contribute to Canada’s effective international presence and influence (see Table 5).

Table 5: Analysis of ITFB Strengths, Limitations, Opportunities and Threats
STRENGTHS LIMITATIONS
  • Strong management team
  • Highly motivated and skilled staff
  • Flat hierarchical structure with good information flow
  • Effective working relationships with key partners and stakeholders
  • Well respected by partners and stakeholders for its expertise and quality of policy analysis and advice
  • Able to effectively respond and adapt to developments in external environment
  • Strong organizational culture of efficiency and cost-effectiveness
  • Knowledge management (Recommendation 2)
  • Technology constraints (including a lack of secure platforms for external information sharing)
  • Limited availability of seasoned, strong technical expertise in international economic analysis
OPPORTUNITIES THREATS (RISKS)
  • Deepening engagement, collaboration with key partners, IAP participants, including institutionalizing collaborative processes (Recommendation 3)
  • Increased attention to forward planning, anticipation and prioritization of policy issues and analysis (Recommendation 4)
  • Refocusing of activities and resources on core strengths and areas where Branch can provide value added in current climate of fiscal restraint (Recommendation 1)
  • Increased efficiency with better utilization of technology
  • Maintaining effective relationships is to some extent personality-dependent
  • High level of external demands for policy analysis and advice from other government departments
  • International economic policy and analysis work is often reactive
  • High workload demands are a threat to maintaining good work-life balance for overburdened groups
  • Maintaining depth of international economics expertise, and development opportunities for staff in current context of fiscal restraint
  • Maintaining effective international presence during fiscal restraint

Appendix A: Management Response 

Management Response
Recommendation Management Response Planned Action Lead Target Date
Recommendation 1: ITFB should continue dialogue and collaboration with CIDA on financing of international development programs through IFIs, with a view to limit taking on international development program administration responsibilities, to the extent possible. Agree.

In recent years, ITFB has assumed administrative responsibilities for a small number of innovative development initiatives that other departments have not had the qualified resources to support.

Efforts are ongoing to transfer responsibility as other departments’ administrative capacity develops. 
Continue discussions with relevant parties with respect to transferring responsibilities for the administration of initiatives in the international development space to CIDA or DFAIT, where appropriate. IFD Division End of fiscal year 2014–15

(Ongoing)
Recommendation 2: ITFB should explore and implement actions to improve knowledge management systems and practices within the Branch. Agree.

Initiatives to improve knowledge management systems and practices have been deferred in recent years, pending the implementation of a more secure IT environment.

Now that this has been addressed, steps will be taken to adopt more streamlined and comprehensive information management processes.

These efforts will be supplemented by initiatives to enhance employee learning and development.
Strengthen knowledge management, systems and practices through:
  • Implementing streamlined and common file management structure for the shared drives;
  • Establishing a repository of prior notes and decisions for reference;
  • Extending the use of work flow processes to manage briefing note approvals; and
  • Adopting learning and development approaches that promote knowledge sharing and employee progression, e.g., job shadowing.
All ITF Divisions End of fiscal year 2013–14
Recommendation 3a: To sustain and further leverage effective engagement with key partners, ITFB should consider and implement steps to institutionalize recent effective intra- and inter-departmental collaborative processes. Agree.

Enhancing collaboration with partners has been an area of significant effort in recent years.

It will continue to be a priority in an environment of constrained resources.
Enhance collaborative processes by:
  • Maintaining an up-to-date list of key contacts; and
  • Holding regular meetings with partners on key files and issues.
  • Promoting frequent and timely inter-organization priority-setting processes.
All ITF divisions End of fiscal year 2013–14

(Ongoing)
Recommendation 3b: To sustain and further leverage effective engagement with key partners, ITFB should consider and implement steps to enhance interaction with International Assignments Program (IAP) participants, in conjunction with other branches. Agree.

Improving IAP engagement and utility has been an area of emphasis in the past year, with the development of the IAP Framework and implementation of the IAP Council of key contacts for Finance Counsellors.

The role of the Council is to enhance working relationships and promote engagement between IAP participants and branches.
ITFB management and staff that are engaged in IAP leadership will:
  • Continue to implement the IAP Council with a view to increasing the frequency, timeliness and quality of advice provided to and from Finance Counsellors.
  • Coordinate actively with partner organizations, in particular DFAIT, to ensure that priorities are clear and useful performance feedback is provided.
IAP Leader, IAP Council End of fiscal year 2013–14

(Ongoing)
Recommendation 4a: To achieve an appropriate balance among (1) meeting a high level of current demands for information and analysis on international economic issues; (2) investing in strategic thinking and anticipatory work on priority issues; and (3) maintaining manageable workloads across the Branch, ITFB should review resource allocation and use across tasks within the Branch. Agree.

The allocation of ITFB resources is subject to regular review in the context of annual business planning.

In an environment of varying demand on multiple fronts (i.e., in the relative priority and nature of international and domestic initiatives) and increasingly  constrained resources, it is challenging to determine an allocation that works effectively for an extended period of time.
Review expected workloads and the allocation of resources in the context of the 2013–14 business planning exercise. ITFB Management End of fiscal year 2013–14

(Ongoing)
Recommendation 4b: To achieve an appropriate balance among (1) meeting a high level of current demands for information and analysis on international economic issues; (2) investing in strategic thinking and anticipatory work on priority issues; and (3) maintaining manageable workloads across the Branch, ITFB should increase attention to proactive policy analysis and advice on international economic policy issues, including forward planning and anticipatory work on priority policy issues. Agree.

It is recognized that the provision of proactive policy advice is often the highest and best use of resources.

That said, the ongoing need to meet current demands for support, often in crisis contexts, constrains the time and resources that can be allocated to forward planning and anticipatory work.
Management will explore dedicating more resources to anticipatory work.

This will be done particularly in the IPA division, which supports the G20 Framework and the medium-term international economic policy agenda.
IPA Division End of fiscal year 2013–14

(Ongoing)

Appendix B: Evaluation Logic Model 

Ultimate Outcome

A strong sustainable economy, resulting in increasing standards of living and improved quality of life for Canadians

Arrows in this logic model represent the expected causal connections between Branch's activities, outputs and intended outcomes.

Intermediate Outcomes

  • Effective Canadian leadership and influence in support of international economic growth and financial stability, including global poverty reduction
  • Enhanced global competitiveness of domestic industries and expanded commercial opportunities for them
  • Effective and efficient policies and programs spending by departments with international portfolios

  • Strong (effective and efficient) organization capacity*

Arrows in this logic model represent the expected causal connections between Branch's activities, outputs and intended outcomes.

Immediate Outcomes

  • Payments to international organizations and Canadian creditors are consistent with Canada’s commitments
  • The Minister and other senior officials have access to timely, high-quality information, analysis and advice on current and emerging issues related to international development, trade and finance, including Canada’s tariff and trade remedy system, foreign policy and border issues, as well as risks to the world economy and economic developments in key countries.
  • The Minister and other decision makers have access to timely, high-quality advice on program spending and new policy proposals to support their role in the Expenditure Management System and development of the annual budget and fiscal updates as required
  • Canadian, departmental priorities/interests are effectively communicated in bilateral, multilateral meetings, negotiations and other key international forums.
  • Trade, tariff and border policies and initiatives that support a liberalized trade and investment environment for Canadian industries.

  •  Appropriate resources, tools and processes within the Branch to achieve objectives*

Arrows in this logic model represent the expected causal connections between Branch's activities, outputs and intended outcomes.

Outputs

  • Payments to international financial institutions and Canadian creditors (EDC, CWB)
  • Annual reports to Parliament tabled by Finance (Bretton Woods, EBRD), as well as input to those tabled by CIDA (ODAAA, ODA Statistical Report)
  • International agreements with international financial institutions, other countries (OECD work on export credits)
  • Consultations, meetings, negotiations held with OGDs, Crown corporations, international organizations, private sector, civil society organizations
  • Memos, briefing notes, briefing books, research and analysis papers, verbal briefings
  • Budget measures, Cabinet notes, funding notes
  • Order-in-Councils, MCs, Treasury Board submissions
  • Trade and investment initiatives and agreements
  • MOUs with CIDA and other organizations
  • Tariff and trade remedy legislative and regulatory initiatives ( proposals, amendments)

  • International postings coordinated*
  • Staffing plans and initiatives, workplans, Branch business plans, risk profiles, cost-cutting, productivity information sharing and lessons learned initiatives*

Arrows in this logic model represent the expected causal connections between Branch's activities, outputs and intended outcomes.

Clients, Partners and Stakeholders

Internal: Minister, Deputy Minister, ADM, other Branches/Divisions (Economic and Fiscal Policy, Financial Sector Policy and Economic Development and Corporate Finance, Corporate services)

Other Government Organizations: PCO, TBS, CIDA, DFAIT, IDRC, CBSA, CITT, EDC, CCC, CWB, BoC, IC

International Organizations: G7/G20(Treasuries, Central Banks), multilateral development banks including the World Bank Group and EBRD, IMF, Paris Club, OECD, APEC, WTO

Other: Business community (domestic manufacturers, importers, etc.), trade community, civil society organizations

Arrows in this logic model represent the expected causal connections between Branch's activities, outputs and intended outcomes.

Activities

Departmental Program Sub-Activity: Commitments to International Financial Organizations

1. Administer payments to international organizations and Canadian creditors

  • Review and ensure requests for transfer payments in accordance with relevant commitments and agreements.
  • Ensure timely and appropriate processing of transfer payments to IFOs, Canadian creditors.
  • Manage the annual provisioning exercise to update the government’s sovereign and commercial exposures, including those of EDC and the CWB, in the public accounts.
  • Prepare and contribute to annual reports to Parliament.
  • Undertake consultations on the Department’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) payments (ODAA Act).

Departmental Program Sub-Activity: International Trade and Finance

2. Policy support for Canada’s participation in key international economic forums and organizations

  • Monitor developments in the global economy, as well as in key regions and countries, and pursue research programs focusing on current and emerging issues of importance to Canada.
  • Identify Canadian priorities and provide strategic advice on how to advance Canadian interests and policy positions on international trade, finance and development issues
  • Coordinate and support participation of Minister and senior government officials in key international forums and organizations (e.g., G7, G8, G20, IMF, multilateral development banks including the World Bank Group and the EBRD, and OECD), including participation in international committees, working groups, funding/replenishment negotiations).
  • Lead Canada’s participation in international forums related to debt relief (Paris Club) and export credits (OECD).

3. Policy support to enhance global competitiveness of domestic industries

  • Develop analysis and advise on trade policy issues and initiatives
  • Evaluate, develop policies on tariff relief, subsidies and trade remedy measures; recommend targeted tariff relief
  • Participate in multilateral and bilateral negotiations and implementation of initiatives related to tariffs, subsidy disciplines and trade remedy measures (under WTO, NAFTA and other FTAs);
  • Ensure appropriate legislative framework for Canada’s import policy;
  • Provide analysis and advice on border policies aimed at a safe and efficient border to support Canada’s growing international trade.

4. Policy support to fulfill the central agency role of the Department

  • Identify and analyze major policy issues and proposals under development in the departments and organizations with international portfolios (CIDA, CBSA, DFAIT, including IDRC, and CITT).
  • Advise on the overall management and priority setting of Canada’s International Assistance Envelope, in collaboration with CIDA, DFAIT and other central agencies.
  • Oversee activities of EDC, Canadian Commercial Corporation, in an effort to promote appropriate public policy roles and risk management policies.

5. Internal Capacity Development and Resource Management

  • Manage International Assignments Program
  • Undertake initiatives relating to HR, business and work planning, risk management
  • Information and knowledge management

* Outputs and outcomes above marked with an asterisk relate to this activity area (5.)

Appendix C: ITFB Organizational Chart 

The ITFB Organizational Chart illustrates the organizational structure of the Branch and its three Divisions, and links them to the senior management of the Department of Finance.

Source: Based on Branch and Divisional organizational charts dated March 2012


[1] These two pilot studies were “Evaluation of the Economic Studies and Policy Analysis Division” (January 2012) and “Evaluation of the Federal-Provincial Relations Division” (January 2012).

[2] Kaplan, Robert S. and David P. Norton. “The Balanced Scorecard—Measures that Drive Performance.Harvard Business Review. 70, 1 (February 1992), pp. 71–79.

[3] SWOT Analysis/Matrix developed by Albert Humphrey, SRI International

[4] Schacter, Mark. The Worth of a Garden”: Performance Measurement and Policy Advice in the Public Service – A Discussion Paper. Commissioned by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Ottawa, 2006.

[5] Table 2 summarizes a more detailed evaluation framework that was prepared for the evaluation, which includes indicators and more specific data sources for assessing each evaluation issue and question.

[6] The total number of interviews includes case study interviews.

[7] Availability of historic data varied by type.

[8] For example, jobs and growth have been stated as government’s top priority in all Throne Speeches since 2008.

[9] Budget 2011 (p. 89)

[10 The government has made it one of Canada’s top international priorities to co-chair the Framework Working Group. The Prime Minister reaffirmed this commitment at the Seoul Summit in November 2010.

[11] Nineteenth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada, pp. 11–12

[12] Managing Aid: Practices of DAC Member Countries, p. 60, describes Canada’s IAE, including objectives and governance.

[13] Eighteenth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada, 2011, pp. 9–10

[14] International Assignments Program, Governance Framework

[15] The following evaluation reports are available on the Department of Finance website: Evaluation of Canada’s Payments to the International Development Association (IDA) (January 2012) and Evaluation of Canada’s International Debt Relief Initiatives (March 2010).

[16] Data compiled based on information contained in supplementary tables on “Details of Transfer Payment Programs” in annual Departmental Performance Reports and Annual Report to Parliament on the Operations Under the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act and Official Development Assistance.

[17]. This represents Canada’s total commitment to these initiatives unless otherwise noted; in the case of ongoing programs, the value indicated is Canadian contributions to date.

[18] This number represents payments to EDC, CWB over the period 2007–08 to 2011–12 only.

[19] This was the strategic outcome for the Department over the period considered by the evaluation. The updated strategic outcome for the Department of Finance in its 2012–13 Report on Plans and Priorities is “a strong economy and sound public finances for Canadians.”

[20] Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity, Economic Action Plan 2012, p. 112

[21] Ten Steps to a Better Trade Policy, Report of the Standing Committee on International Trade, April 2007, Recommendation 18.

[22]Department of Finance news release, October 11, 2012, “Harper Government’s Tariff Relief to Bolster Jobs and Growth